Analyst says Duterte has growing dictatorial tendency; Palace says 'nonsense'

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 20 2018 03:58 PM

Analyst says Duterte has growing dictatorial tendency; Palace says 'nonsense' 1
President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech in Maasin City on July 2, 2018. Rey Baniquet, Malacañang Photo

Palace says Duterte 'reverse of a dictator'

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has shown a "more pronounced" dictatorial tendency over his two years in office, a political analyst said Friday, citing other past leaders who had such predisposition. 

Temario Rivera, former chair of the University of the Philippines' Department of Political Science, said Duterte has shown an inclination to becoming a despot.

“During the last two years, President Duterte has shown an increasingly more pronounced authoritarian tendency, predisposition for what in common terms we refer to as a strongman rule," he said during a forum.

Rivera, however, noted that such is not new in the Philippines and even around the world, citing the long history presidents who have displayed authoritarian tendencies.

Some Philippine leaders that had strong authoritarian tendencies according to Rivera were Commonwealth President Manuel Quezon, the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

“In simpler terms, we have strong authoritarian leaders who have shown these basic tendencies. We see in them a concentration of a lot of power they dominate many areas of public policy," he said.

"Leaders of this mold are, of course, ready to cut corners because they believe they know best,” he added.

Malacañang meanwhile dismissed Rivera's observations as "nonsense," saying Duterte is the opposite of a dictator.

"Nonsense. He (Duterte) was democratically elected and had adhered to the rule of law. He has even offered to step down after charter change. He's the reverse of a dictator," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told ABS-CBN News.

Duterte had previously shot down criticism that he was turning into a dictator like Marcos.

But in February this year, the President said he would be a dictator if the public says he is, if only to bring the country to order.

“If you say dictator, I will be dictator. Because if I will not be a dictator, nothing will happen to this country,” Duterte said in Bisaya in a speech last February.

“I had to. Besides, you have chosen me as your President. Why won't you follow me when my dreams are all for you?”

For Rivera, Filipinos accept such kind of leaders because of a combination of several factors: the political culture of machismo
or being manly, weak institutions, and persistence of problems that call for quick-fix approaches.

In the case of Duterte, Rivera said the long-time mayor also has his own brand of cronyism—his strong dependence on people with connections to his home, Davao.

”What is also very pronounced in his cronyism is a very strong dependence on Davao-linked allies, Davao-linked cronies or kung di Davao, at least may Mindanao connection ka dapat,” he said.

"You have in Duterte a classic local boss. Demand kung anong gusto niya sasama ka otherwise, either mamamatay ka or umalis ka sa lugar. Hindi ba ganun ang nakasanayan ni Duterte as a leader?” Rivera added.

(He demands what he wants and you go along with it, otherwise you either die or have to leave. Isn't that what Duterte has become used to as a leader?)

Duterte made history in May 2016 when he became the first President to be elected straight from being a city mayor, and the first Mindanaoan to hold the country's highest post.